Being popular and a "legend" at soccer was Mayamiko Tandaude's highest aim before God completely changed his life.
"I was addicted to soccer," Mayamiko begins. "So much so that I ceased going to church."
Besides seeking popularity through sport, he says there were other desires and addictions that troubled him.
"I was a gambler," he admits, "I was dishonest, and addicted to pornographic movies, as well as ungodly music."
These addictions had a strange effect on him, he says, because "sometimes I developed a hatred for anyone, especially my relatives, without any reason."
An inward desire to change grew in him because he did not want this anger to control his thinking.
One day, he found hope when he saw that a friend's life had been positively changed by Jesus.
"I was inspired by the life of a certain Christian who was spiritually 'born again'," says Mayamiko.
Up until then, he says, "I claimed that I was 'born again', but my life was a witness that I was not really spiritually reborn by the Spirit of God.
"Unlike me, this friend was loving, gentle, kind – just to mention a few of his qualities."
Due to what he observed in this friend's life, Mayamiko recalls, "I believed in the Lord Jesus and asked for forgiveness for my sins."
After this wholehearted surrender to God, Mayamiko says the Holy Spirit began inwardly changing him, which changed his outward affections and desires.
"Before that decision I was seen by others as a bona-fide 'soccer legend', a gambler and a dishonest man," he explains. "When God changed my life after I trusted in Jesus, I stopped gambling. I also became humble. I started to love spiritual songs that gave glory to God."
Mayamiko has since been in training to become a teacher, where he experienced temptation to return to his old lifestyle.
He acknowledges that it was only the work of the Holy Spirit that protected him.
"God has helped me in temptations such as sexual immorality, jealousy and corrupt practises by giving me His Spirit, who now lives within me.
"For example, during our teacher training, female classmates tried to hook me into sexual immorality, but God gave me faith to stand upon His goodness and love towards me.
"He gave me this faith through reading and believing His Word, the Bible, and through the encouragement of fellow believers."
Because he has this loving relationship with Jesus, Mayamiko does not want to rebel against Him.
Jesus instructed His disciples, "If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commands and remain in His love" (John chapter 15, verse 10).•